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Theatrical and Kinematograph Photography

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THEATRICAL AND KINEMATOGRAPH PHOTOGRAPHY Theatrical Photography.—The usual plan of taking photographs in a theatre is to employ flashlight, elaborate arrangements and a large battery of lamps, combined with the usual stage lights, being necessary in most cases. The invention, in 19oi, of the Griin fluid lens, work ing at an aperture of f/2.5, enabled well-exposed negatives of stage scenes during a performance to be obtained in one-quarter of a second's ex posure, and pictures of actresses, etc., in their dressing-rooms, with five seconds' exposure. Under very favourable circumstances even shorter exposures were given ; at the London Alhambra, for example, excellently exposed negatives were taken from the stalls with an exposure of second without the knowledge of the performers. Rapid but not specially pre pared plates were used in conjunction with the Griin lens. Arthur Payne considers that no " ordinary " plate, however fast, can equal for such work, by artificial light, a plate specially bathed in the manner described below. The speed of these special plates varies from 5oo to 55o H. and D. According to Arthur Payne's article in the British Journal of Photography (July 6, 1906), clean working plates of medium speed were bathed in the following :—A stock solution of orthochrom '1' dye is made by dis solving 1 g. in i,000 ccs. of alcohol (90 per cent.), and 4 ccs. of this, together with 3 ccs. of liquor ammonia;, are added to zoo ccs. of dis tilled water. This solution is filtered and used at a temperature of 6o° to 65°F. (15.5° to 18° C.). It must be made up as required, as it can be used only once. The plates are immersed for three minutes, care being taken to rock the dish and avoid air-bells. The solution is then poured away and the plates washed in running water for three minutes and dried. The plates are now extremely sensitive to yellowish light, and therefore the bathing, washing, and drying must be carried out in darkness or in the safest of ruby lights. The plates should be used as soon as possible after they are dry. The de velopment of these plates is as usual, except that it is best to use the developer at a temperature of about 95° P. (about 24° C.). Most of the organic developers probably give equally good results with these plates, but bromide or other restrainer must not be used, and they must be of maximum strength, so that when used a slight fog appears over the whole of the plate. Edinol is found to give one of the best kinds of negatives, fairly free from grain, which will bear enlarging up to five or six diameters.

The plates treated as described above were used with success by many workers, but Mr. Payne discovered later that a 1 in 5o,000 solution of pinacyanol, used instead of orthochrom T, gave increased sensitiveness and made the plates more sensitive to red than to blue. The gain in

speed by yellow light is considerable when pina cyanol is used ; indeed, when a stage is illu minated by yellow light, only focal plane shutter exposures of + to second are possible with a lens working at f/3. In manipulating the plates, darkness is best, or a very weak green safe " light.

In the majority of cases negatives of theatrical photographs will be found very thin, although possibly full of detail. Dr. Griin advocated intensification with uranium, but Arthur Payne advises printing upon gaslight paper, or the making of a contrasty transparency upon a photo-mechanical plate in the camera, enlarging the image about two diameters, and from this positive making an enlarged negative in the camera ; by obtaining as much contrast as pos sible in the enlarged negative and printing upon gaslight paper, the contrast in the final print will probably be all that is required.

Photographically, stage lighting may be di vided into two classes : diffused lighting, when the whole of the stage is fairly equally flooded with light ; and focused arc lamps or lime lights when the light is concentrated upon one part of the stage or upon the principal actor in the scene. These effects are used independently and together, and the photographer should try to select a moment when the subject is illuminated by both focused and diffused lighting ; although the strong, bright lighting resulting from the use of focused arcs alone produces interesting effects, which photograph easily and well. Occasionally some pretty effects may be obtained from the wings on the stage, more especially when the figure is lit by focused arcs, but permission to use a camera in the wings during a performance is rarely given. Arthur Payne believes that the best position to work from, on the stage itself, is obtained by sitting upon a chair, this resulting in a low point of view, on the O.P. side of the stage—that is, on the right-hand side as the audience see it. The reason for selecting this side is to avoid obstructing the officials, who are generally on the " prompt " side in the execu tion of their duties. The stage appears to be brighter, by contrast with the darkened theatre, than is actually the case, but Mr. Payne says this difficulty may be overcome by observing the amount of light which is reflected from the stage into the auditorium ; in this manner fluctuations in the light may be followed with ease. It may be accepted as a general rule that the longest possible exposure should be given on all occasions, for it is unlikely that the photo grapher will ever meet with over-exposure, except under extreme conditions, as stage lighting usually gives heavy shadows.

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